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SS Great Eastern The Cursed Ship

SS Great Eastern was 19,000 tons steamship and considered as the largest ship in the world at the time of her 1859 launch. It was designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel and built by J. Scott Russell & Co. at Millwall on the River Thames, London. However, this ship was surrounded with misfortunes and bad luck even before she hit the water. The ship was designed to carry goods and people to India and Australia, without stopping for fuel.Twice the length and five times the weight of any previous ship. It would be the largest moveable object man had ever created.

Great Eastern during an attempted of her first launch in 1858
In July 1858, she was christened as Leviathan by Henrietta (daughter of a major fundraiser for the ship, Henry Thomas Hope). However, her name subsequently changed back to Great Eastern.

In 1859, an attempt to launch the ship ended in failure. 30 August 1859 was given as the date of the first voyage, but this was later put back to 6 September. Due to technical problems, they could not get the ship into the water on the date it was slated to be launched. The destination was Weymouth, from which a trial trip into the Atlantic would be made. Ship builders did eventually get the Great Eastern launched, but it seem from that point on the ship was cursed.

Great Eastern at Heart's Content, July 1866
During her building, a riveter and his apprentice simply vanished. In September 1859 her maiden voyage was cut short by a boiler explosion. Her second company collapsed under the expense of repairs and a new firm took her on. She got stuck on the runway for three months. And when she finally took to the water, Brunel had a stroke, fell to the deck and died. She reaching New York in June 1860, for the next two months she was exhibited to the public and made voyages along the U.S. coast. Five firemen died when a funnel exploded, another crewman was crushed in the paddle wheel. Her skipper perished in a small boat with a child passenger. Another sailor died in the paddle, yet another fell overboard and drowned. A two-day excursion off the US coast turned into a near-disaster when the ship drifted 100 miles (160km) into the Atlantic. Her fortunes seemed to have turned when she was hired to lay the trans-Atlantic cable – but the cable was lost and she returned in shame.

Few years later, in 1862 voyage it ran aground and took severe damage from hitting rocks. It was discovered that the rock had opened a gash in the ship's outer hull over 9 feet wide and 83 feet long. When a crew of workman went below to repair the damage, they resurfaced in a hurry, claiming that they could hear a pounding noise coming from the hull as if someone were trying to get out. The superstitious work crew refused to return to work on the ship, believing that the sound was that of the spirits of the dead riveters trying to get out.

By 1874, she was laid up to rot in Milford Haven, Wales. Fifteen years later, when she was broken up for scrap, they found the skeletons of the riveter and his apprentice in her double hull.

The Fortean Times Paranormal Handbook edited and compiled by David Sutton

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The Fortean Times Paranormal Handbook edited and compiled by David Sutton page 18

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